This week’s game is an old classic that only took me about 20 years to learn how to play correctly: Stratego by Jumbo.

800px-stratego_board

Stratego, like a lot of the older games of strategy, is deceptively simple to play. Two players assemble their troops on their side of the board with the rank of each piece hidden from the other player (as above). Players take turns moving 1 piece each. When a piece is moved into a space occupied by an opponent’s piece, both are revealed and the weaker piece is removed from the game. If both pieces are the same rank, then both are removed. The game is over once a player captures the opponent’s flag, declaring victory.

This game is equal parts memory, and equal parts psychological analysis. Through reveals and observations, you need to keep track of where your opponents pieces are after they’ve revealed and make educated guesses on what pieces are likely to be bombs and/or the flag (since bombs and the flag can’t move). The amount you know about your opponent can help with this, since determining his strategy of placement and attack can assist greatly in determining how you should place your forces and how you should go about assaulting his. It’s a weird meld of the game memory with a strategy mind game.

Growing up we had a set of Stratego that was fairly old and belonged to my parents. I don’t know that we ever figured out how to play it properly. I think the very first game of Stratego I ever played correctly was in college. It’s one of those games that really isn’t for the younger crowd.

-Confusion is a state of mind, or is it?

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